The action takes place in England in the second half of the XV century. during the Wars of the Roses. In the village of Tenstall, owned by Sir Daniel Brackley, a messenger appears who brings Sir Daniel’s order to the entire male population of the village to immediately march. The detachment should be led by Bennett Hatch, Sir Daniel’s right hand and, in his absence, the manager of the castle Moth.
For the duration of the campaign, he wants to leave to look after the castle of the old soldier Nicholas Appleby, but during their conversation Applepard pierces a black arrow – this is the sign of the forest robber, nicknamed John-Mschu-Bey-All. Hatch is forced to stay, and reinforcement to Sir Daniel will be led by his pupil Richard (Dick) Shelton. While the detachment is gathering at the church, a letter is found on the church door, in which John-Mschu-Za-All speaks of his intention to take revenge on Sir Daniel, Sir Oliver-the priest guilty, as the letter says,
in the death of the father of young Dick, and Bennett Hatch. Meanwhile, Sir Daniel is sitting in the tavern of one of his villages. There, on the floor, a boy found himself, morbidly reacting to the jokes of Sir Daniel, who promises to marry him successfully, by making Mrs. Shelton.
Appears Dick. After reading a letter from the priest of Sir Oliver, Sir Daniel tries to shift the blame for the death of Father Dick to a certain Ellis Decworth. While Dick is eating, someone approaches him from behind and asks the way to the Abbey of Holywood, which is near the castle of Moth. After answering, Dick notices how the boy, whom everyone in the tavern calls “Master John,” secretly slips out of the room. Sir Daniel sends Dick with a letter back to the castle of Moth. Then a messenger appears calling on Brackley to come forward to assist Count Risinging, a Lancaster supporter, and Sir Daniel notices that “Master John” disappeared. Then he sends to his search a detachment of seven people. Dick’s path to the castle lies through the swamp. There he meets John, whose horse is drowned in the quagmire,
and the boys go on together. From John Dick learns, that Sir Daniel is going to marry him to some Joanne Sadley. When they cross the river, they are attacked by robbers. Dick is in the water, and John saves him. Passing through the forest, they fall into the camp of robbers, the leader of which is indeed Ellis Decworth. Soon the boys are witnessing the defeat of the detachment sent in search of John.
After spending the night in the woods, the boys meet a leper – this is disguised Sir Daniel, overwhelmed by the supporters of York. In the castle, Sir Daniel is preparing for defense – most of all he is afraid of “forest brothers”. Immediately ready to betray his former supporters, he sends a letter with a messenger to his friend, who is in the Lancaster party. In the meantime, Dick is trying to find out the circumstances of his father’s death, what brings the wrath of Sir Daniel. He is moved to a room above the chapel, and Dick feels that this is a trap. Appeared suddenly John confirms his conjectures. Indeed, the assassin is already opening a secret hatch, but he is distracted by the search for Johanna that began in the castle. Dick’s friend confesses that he is Joanne, and they swear to unite their destinies. Through the secret hatch, Dick leaves the castle and, barely crossing the ditch, wanders into the forest. There he finds a hanged messenger and takes possession of the letter, after which he surrenders to the robbers. He is assigned to the leader. Decworth cordially greets the boy and vows to take revenge on Sir Daniel for him and for himself. Through the peasants, Dick hands over to his former guardian a letter warning him of the device of marriage of his betrothed.
Several months pass. Supporters of the York House are defeated, and the Lancaster Party is temporarily triumphant, whose main supporters settled in the town of Shorbi-on-Tille. Dick becomes aware that Sir Daniel wants to marry Joan to Sir Shorby. In an attempt to kidnap the bride, Dick attacks a house where she is being held in custody, but instead of guarding, she enters into battle with Lord Foxgam, her guardian. As a result, the young man defeats the old knight, and he gives consent to his marriage with Joanna. Then Dick, together with Lord Foxgam, is trying to free Joanne by stealing the ship, but from their idea to attack her house from the sea does not work out – they and the sailors among the “forest brothers” miraculously manage to escape.
In a skirmish with the guards, Lord Foxgem was wounded. He gives Dick his ring as evidence that the young man is his representative, and a letter to the future King Richard III, which contains information about the forces of the supporters of Lancaster. After an unsuccessful attempt to release Joanne Lawless, the most faithful Diku robber, leads the young man into the woods, where they disguise themselves as monks. In this garb they enter the house of Sir Daniel; there Dick meets at last with Joanna. However, in order to protect himself, he has to kill Sir Shorby’s spy; As a result, a stir rises, and Dick is forced to flee. He tries to deceive the guards by saying that he is going to pray, and they take him to the church, where he has to open up to Sir Oliver. He promises not to give it out, if nothing prevents Joanna’s wedding with Sir Shorby.
However, during the wedding ceremony, the people of Dekuorta are killing the groom and wounding Sir Daniel, so Sir Oliver gives out Dick. Sir Daniel wants to torture him, but he declares his innocence and asks for protection from Count Reisinghem. The count, not wanting to quarrel with Sir Daniel, is also going to punish him, but Dick shows the Count a letter proving the treachery of Sir Daniel, and the boy is released. But as soon as they with the loyal Lawless go out into the street, as Dick falls into the hands of the captain who stole the ship, and he miraculously manages to escape. Dick comes to a meeting with Richard Gloucester, the future king, and they together develop an attack plan for Shorby. During the battle for the city, Dick manages to keep an important line before the reinforcements arrive, for which the future king consecrates him as a knight. But Dick quickly loses his grace, asking him to save his life with the captain of the ship he had stolen. Arriving after the battle to the house of Sir Daniel, Dick discovers that he escaped, taking with him Joanna.
Having received 50 riders from Gloucester, he goes on a chase and finds Joanne in the forest. Together they come to the Abbey of Holywood, where the next day they are to be married. Going out in the morning to walk, Dick meets a man in the clothes of a pilgrim. This is Sir Daniel, who wants to sneak into Holywood under the protection of his holy walls, and then escape to Burgundy or France. Dick is not going to kill his enemy, but he does not want to let him into the abbey. Sir Daniel leaves, heading for the forest, but at the edge of it overtakes an arrow – so revenge ravaged Ellis Decworth. The hero marries Joanna, the captain of the stolen ship lives happily in the village of Tenstall, and Lawless becomes a monk and dies in piety.